The key to eradicating malaria in the near future is stepped up research and development of new tools to battle the disease, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert group that spent the last 3 years studying the malaria landscape said today in a report.
The 13-member group, called the Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication (SAGme) published a 20-page executive summary of their report, which also includes a set of recommendations, ahead of a WHO-hosted malaria forum in Geneva on Sep 9.
Malaria infections and deaths have held steady since 2015, but there isn’t enough progress against the disease to achieve the 2030 goal set out in the latest WHO malaria strategy to cut cases and deaths by 90%, the group said in a press release.
The disease hits children the hardest, with kids under age 5 making up 61% of all malaria deaths. And some of the world’s poorest countries are most affected; the WHO said more than 90% of the 400,000 global deaths each year occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, the WHO’s director-general, said in the statement that freeing the world of malaria would be one of public health’s greatest achievements. “With new tools and approaches we can make this vision a reality,” he added.
Scale-up could have major impact